"Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

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"Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

David Gerard-2
Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement.Here's the
Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/crewe.group/

I see a pile of Wikimedians engaging with them, which is promising.

I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
but will understand generating *bad* PR.


- d.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Thomas Morton
One of those would be me :)

A suggestion I picked up on was to have a joint session with Wikipedians &
individuals from CREWE where we could have an actual dialogue (I sent an
email to Daria about getting assistance for this last night).

If your interested in helping out with the dialogue that would rock :)

Tom

On 29 March 2012 09:52, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement.Here's the
> Facebook page:
>
> https://www.facebook.com/groups/crewe.group/
>
> I see a pile of Wikimedians engaging with them, which is promising.
>
> I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
> media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
> The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
> you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
> your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
> sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
> but will understand generating *bad* PR.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

David Gerard-2
On 29 March 2012 09:57, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> One of those would be me :)
> A suggestion I picked up on was to have a joint session with Wikipedians &
> individuals from CREWE where we could have an actual dialogue (I sent an
> email to Daria about getting assistance for this last night).
> If your interested in helping out with the dialogue that would rock :)


I've just blogged about this too:

http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2012/03/29/the-public-relations-agency-problem/

I'm hoping that will circulate slightly in the PR sphere.


- d.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Thomas Morton
I do disagree with the idea though, FWIW. It feels much akin to a threat :)

We also (reading that blog post) disagree on a few other aspects as well.
Which is why I am eager to see input from a broad swathe of Wikipedians on
these issues.

Tom

On 29 March 2012 10:17, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 March 2012 09:57, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > One of those would be me :)
> > A suggestion I picked up on was to have a joint session with Wikipedians
> &
> > individuals from CREWE where we could have an actual dialogue (I sent an
> > email to Daria about getting assistance for this last night).
> > If your interested in helping out with the dialogue that would rock :)
>
>
> I've just blogged about this too:
>
>
> http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2012/03/29/the-public-relations-agency-problem/
>
> I'm hoping that will circulate slightly in the PR sphere.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

David Gerard-2
On 29 March 2012 10:20, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I do disagree with the idea though, FWIW. It feels much akin to a threat :)


It's not a threat from us, it's saying "you don't want what happened
to Bell Pottinger to happen to you."

I'm surprised to see (repeatedly) that the press and public get much
more upset about this stuff than Wikipedians do.

I do see your point, though. I'll amend the post a bit.


- d.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement.Here's the
> Facebook page:
>
> https://www.facebook.com/groups/crewe.group/
>
> I see a pile of Wikimedians engaging with them, which is promising.
>
> I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
> media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
> The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
> you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
> your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
> sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
> but will understand generating *bad* PR.
>
>
> - d.

Yes, good point. Newt's communications director, who edited his and
Callista's article did not do much, and did try in good faith to disclose
his interest and follow our guidelines once he became aware of them, but
by then the damage had been done and he was "exposed".

Compared to some of the really nasty PR editing I've seen he did nothing.
Big mainstream media plays a major role. If conflict of interest editing
becomes a story on the evening news there is nothing we or the PR person
can do. They're toast, responsible editing and disclosure or not.

Fred



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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 29 March 2012 09:52, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
> media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
> The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
> you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
> your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
> sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
> but will understand generating *bad* PR.
>

 It would certainly be useful to have an agreed "approach" from our side.
What even might work? Our natural sort of starting point would be FAQ-like,
but that probably doesn't fit the bill. Neither would a simple "set of
instructions", given that COI speaks to intention first.

I noticed that in the Bell Pottinger meltdown Lord Bell switched from
saying that the PR operatives had not actually broken the law (i.e.
minimalist on professional ethics), to a line that WP was really just too
complicated and fussy about it all. The latter is only convincing in the
absence of figures on the hourly rate being charged for whitewashing.
Almost by definition, service industries thrive on the principle that they
can charge for doing a good job: we mostly prefer not to cut our own hair.

I would guess that there is scope for presenting case studies, abstracted
from real things that have happened onsite. There must be a whole spectrum
of situations and outcomes by now.  Where the punchline is "and the media
had a field day with the story", I think you're quite correct, it becomes
quite convincing that whatever the client was charged was too much.

Charles
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Fred Bauder-2
> On 29 March 2012 09:52, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
>> media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
>> The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
>> you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
>> your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
>> sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
>> but will understand generating *bad* PR.
>>
>
>  It would certainly be useful to have an agreed "approach" from our side.
> What even might work? Our natural sort of starting point would be
> FAQ-like,
> but that probably doesn't fit the bill. Neither would a simple "set of
> instructions", given that COI speaks to intention first.
>
> I noticed that in the Bell Pottinger meltdown Lord Bell switched from
> saying that the PR operatives had not actually broken the law (i.e.
> minimalist on professional ethics), to a line that WP was really just too
> complicated and fussy about it all. The latter is only convincing in the
> absence of figures on the hourly rate being charged for whitewashing.
> Almost by definition, service industries thrive on the principle that
> they
> can charge for doing a good job: we mostly prefer not to cut our own
> hair.
>
> I would guess that there is scope for presenting case studies, abstracted
> from real things that have happened onsite. There must be a whole
> spectrum
> of situations and outcomes by now.  Where the punchline is "and the media
> had a field day with the story", I think you're quite correct, it becomes
> quite convincing that whatever the client was charged was too much.
>
> Charles

There is an article which started out as Paid editing on Wikipedia and is
now Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia It seems to be quite a
success judging from the number of links to it.

Fred


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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On 29 March 2012 15:38, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I noticed that in the Bell Pottinger meltdown Lord Bell switched from
> saying that the PR operatives had not actually broken the law (i.e.
> minimalist on professional ethics), to a line that WP was really just too
> complicated and fussy about it all. The latter is only convincing in the
> absence of figures on the hourly rate being charged for whitewashing.
> Almost by definition, service industries thrive on the principle that they
> can charge for doing a good job: we mostly prefer not to cut our own hair.


In the Bell Pottinger incident, Wikipedians and even Jimbo may have
fussed - but it was the press who really took them to the cleaners.


- d.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On 29 March 2012 15:38, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>  It would certainly be useful to have an agreed "approach" from our side.
> What even might work? Our natural sort of starting point would be FAQ-like,
> but that probably doesn't fit the bill. Neither would a simple "set of
> instructions", given that COI speaks to intention first.


I chatted to Steve Virgin about this today. He's been working his arse
off getting PR stuff set up for Monmouthpedia, and talking to PR
professionals about WIkipedia, and talking to PR professionals about
Monmouthpedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:GLAM/MonmouthpediA/Public_Relations

More generally, he's been talking to serious PR people who are
actually sensible about how to deal with Wikipedia. It turns out the
good PRs really are sick of the idiot PRs. So the liaison will involve
a bit of the good people on each side apologising for the bad ones ...

Monmouthpedia has the potential to be HUGE in the news, because
frankly every little town in the world will want to do something like
it - WMUK is getting inquiries already. It will also be an interesting
way to recruit new Wikipedians. Of course, then we have to think about
what will happen when they meet the worst of the present community ...
it's all fun.


- d.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:17 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 March 2012 09:57, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > One of those would be me :)
> > A suggestion I picked up on was to have a joint session with Wikipedians
> &
> > individuals from CREWE where we could have an actual dialogue (I sent an
> > email to Daria about getting assistance for this last night).
> > If your interested in helping out with the dialogue that would rock :)
>
>
> I've just blogged about this too:
>
>
> http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2012/03/29/the-public-relations-agency-problem/
>
> I'm hoping that will circulate slightly in the PR sphere.



Very good post. In particular, two observations stand out:

"sometimes our articles are in fact rubbish. How do you fix that?"

"my comments are strictly advisory and based on watching the press
absolutely crucify PR people who have edited clients’ articles, which
becomes bad PR for the client — even if what they did was within Wikipedia
rules and they arguably didn’t deserve it. I’ve been repeatedly amazed at
just how upset the press and the public (e.g., people I talk to) get about
this, much more than the actual Wikipedians do."

I've been amazed at this as well. Papers will say "so-and-so deleted
negative material from their own Wikipedia biography", and that's it. Crime
of the century!

In these reports, there's not a peep about what kind of negative material
the person deleted from their article – whether it was the sole reference
to a notable criminal conviction or a ridiculous 500-word diatribe about
their dispute with a neighbour in Solihull, added by a Solihull IP.

The media just seem to love the chance to take a cheap shot – one reason
why I think we give the press far too much credit as encyclopedic sources.
At any rate, they need educating.

Perhaps this a-priori assumption that if you "delete criticism" from a
Wikipedia article you must be evil is a subconscious effect of the
"encyclopedia" moniker, which makes people assume there must have been an
editorial team involved, carefully vetting and balancing all this
information.

A similar thing happens in deletion discussions. Some anonymous person
writes a hatchet job about a borderline-notable figure. The person is
horrified and complains, and an AfD or some other type of community
discussion ensues.

Naturally, never having heard of the person, and in the absence of readily
available alternative sources of information, everyone first of all reads
the Wikipedia article that the subject says is the problem.

And without really noticing, they form a mental image of the person based
on that article. The article may, as in a recent case I was involved in,
contain references to statements the subject never made, be cherry-picked
to make them look like a crank, assign vastly undue weight to the anonymous
hatchet wielder's bugbear, and so forth. But the reader laps it all up.
It's got footnotes!

And the standard Wikipedian response after perusing the article is: "Well,
this guy is complaining that our article makes him look like a crank. But
according to our article, he *is* a crank. He just doesn't like the truth."

And with that, truth is vanquished.
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
I noticed a thread on Jimbo's talk page that is partly related to this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#A_radical_idea.3B_BLP_opt-out_for_all

Tarc suggested:

"Any living person, subject to identity verification via OTRS, may
request the deletion of their article. No discussion, no AfD, just
*poof*. In its place is a simple template explaining why there is no
longer an article there, and a pointer to where the reader can find
information on the subject, a link similar to Template:Find sources at
the top of every AfD."

What people there seem to be missing is that the template would
explicitly say "article removed at subject's request". The point being
that this could well result in a big PR stink for either Wikipedia
("the article was rubbish and rightly removed") or for the subject
("they are (wrongly) trying to control what is said about them").

[This is why it relates to the topic of this thread]

This is why such a proposal might actually work.

I am rather surprised at why some people miss that this is about
living people though. BWilkins said:

"You can't very well tear out "Mussolini" from every copy of EB ever
printed, can you?"

Obviously, for those who are dead, this proposed policy would no
longer apply, and you default back to the usual arguments about
notability and so on. And I still maintain that notability cannot be
properly assessed until someone's life or career has finished. The
whole "notability is not temporary" thing needs serious
re-examination.

Carcharoth

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

George William Herbert
BLP is a good idea and we got it for good reasons.  These recent developments, however, forget that we are *an encyclopedia*. It's into barking mad territory.

No. We will not go to removing bios on demand on my watch.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 4, 2012, at 5:27, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I noticed a thread on Jimbo's talk page that is partly related to this.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#A_radical_idea.3B_BLP_opt-out_for_all
>
> Tarc suggested:
>
> "Any living person, subject to identity verification via OTRS, may
> request the deletion of their article. No discussion, no AfD, just
> *poof*. In its place is a simple template explaining why there is no
> longer an article there, and a pointer to where the reader can find
> information on the subject, a link similar to Template:Find sources at
> the top of every AfD."
>
> What people there seem to be missing is that the template would
> explicitly say "article removed at subject's request". The point being
> that this could well result in a big PR stink for either Wikipedia
> ("the article was rubbish and rightly removed") or for the subject
> ("they are (wrongly) trying to control what is said about them").
>
> [This is why it relates to the topic of this thread]
>
> This is why such a proposal might actually work.
>
> I am rather surprised at why some people miss that this is about
> living people though. BWilkins said:
>
> "You can't very well tear out "Mussolini" from every copy of EB ever
> printed, can you?"
>
> Obviously, for those who are dead, this proposed policy would no
> longer apply, and you default back to the usual arguments about
> notability and so on. And I still maintain that notability cannot be
> properly assessed until someone's life or career has finished. The
> whole "notability is not temporary" thing needs serious
> re-examination.
>
> Carcharoth
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Carcharoth
On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
> BLP is a good idea and we got it for good reasons.  These recent developments, however, forget that we are *an encyclopedia*. It's into barking mad territory.
>
> No. We will not go to removing bios on demand on my watch.

OK, but what do you call a "bio". Compare these two articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Brain

[A random FA-level biographical article]

And any article from this category:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Finnish_winter_sports_biography_stubs

[Those are *not* encyclopedic articles, they are placeholders that
might one day become encyclopedic articles - is that standard
acceptable for BLPs?]

Or indeed any article from this category:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:People_stubs

We *should* have a category of BLP stubs, but I can't find it. Maybe
someone can cross-reference the BLP category and the "people stub"
category (and its sub-categories) and find out how many are BLPs.

The point being that some articles are *never* going to be more than
stubs. A stub is arguably not a biographical article, but only a
placeholder, waiting to see if any reliable source will ever bother
writing more about that person during the rest of their life. The
answer in most cases is "no" (nothing more gets written). Either that,
or it is a placeholder waiting for Wikipedians to get around to
expanding the article.

There is a good argument to be made that all BLPs should be kept out
of mainspace and kept as drafts until formally assessed at being
reasonably complete and reasonably well-written. At some point, merely
being "referenced" is not enough.

And then you have people trying (and failing, though they may not
realise they are failing) to write so-called biographical articles
about every example within a field. Mainly caused by overly lax
interpretation of the GNG (general notability guideline). To take a
specific example of radio (topical at the moment), have a look at
these halls of fame:

http://www.radioacademy.org/hall-of-fame/
http://www.radiohof.org/

It would be simple to incorporate something like that into a SNG
(specific notability guideline), but I doubt that will be possible in
the current climate.

Carcharoth

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On Wed, 4 Apr 2012, George Herbert wrote:
> BLP is a good idea and we got it for good reasons.  These recent developments, however, forget that we are *an encyclopedia*. It's into barking mad territory.
>
> No. We will not go to removing bios on demand on my watch.

I would suggest as a modest proposal that we do away with "Wikipedia is an
encyclopedia".  I've already suggested that we do away with the IAR
clause "to improve the encyclopedia".

"Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" constantly gets misinterpreted to mean "we
may never allow other concerns to take precedence over being
encyclopediac".  This is wrong.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On 4 April 2012 15:10, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> We *should* have a category of BLP stubs, but I can't find it. Maybe
> someone can cross-reference the BLP category and the "people stub"
> category (and its sub-categories) and find out how many are BLPs.
>
> In principle that shouldn't be too hard to do, with Catscan 2.0 to
intersect categories for you. In practice the toolserver can't be taken for
granted. And it seems that the naive way of doing this produces a list that
is just too big (I took sub-categories to depth 5 there). To get an idea,
if you do 1950 births intersect people stubs you get something over 2000.
Which suggests the magnitude of the problem might be around 100,000.

Charles
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On 4 April 2012 16:24, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:
<snip>

> I would suggest as a modest proposal that we do away with "Wikipedia is an
> encyclopedia".  I've already suggested that we do away with the IAR
> clause "to improve the encyclopedia".
>

Oh, I don't know, it still has explanatory value. "Comprehensive
topic-based tertiary source" has twice as many syllables.

>
> "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" constantly gets misinterpreted to mean "we
> may never allow other concerns to take precedence over being
> encyclopediac".  This is wrong.
>

Mmm. There is a certain rather blinkered singlemindedness that can set in
with some people, so perhaps I know what you are driving at. But why do you
think such people would be better at interpreting other attempts to define
the scope of the mission? The problem is surely not so much in the wording,
as in the approach.

In fact I'm in favour of the rearguard action that regards the pressure to
define key concepts ever more precisely as the expulsion of common sense.

Charles

>
>
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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 4 April 2012 15:10, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> We *should* have a category of BLP stubs, but I can't find it. Maybe
>> someone can cross-reference the BLP category and the "people stub"
>> category (and its sub-categories) and find out how many are BLPs.
>>
>> In principle that shouldn't be too hard to do, with Catscan 2.0 to
> intersect categories for you. In practice the toolserver can't be taken for
> granted. And it seems that the naive way of doing this produces a list that
> is just too big (I took sub-categories to depth 5 there). To get an idea,
> if you do 1950 births intersect people stubs you get something over 2000.
> Which suggests the magnitude of the problem might be around 100,000.

This presumes 2000 every year from 1950 to 2000? Might not be that,
but something of that order of magnitude. Thanks. I wish the
toolserver and tools like that wouldn't trip up or time out over large
stuff like that. The inability to get a true sense of the bigger
picture can lead to potential failure points.

Carcharoth

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Wed, 4 Apr 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:

>> "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" constantly gets misinterpreted to mean "we
>> may never allow other concerns to take precedence over being
>> encyclopediac".  This is wrong.
> Mmm. There is a certain rather blinkered singlemindedness that can set in
> with some people, so perhaps I know what you are driving at. But why do you
> think such people would be better at interpreting other attempts to define
> the scope of the mission? The problem is surely not so much in the wording,
> as in the approach.
>
> In fact I'm in favour of the rearguard action that regards the pressure to
> define key concepts ever more precisely as the expulsion of common sense.

Common sense is long gone.  All we can do is try to make sure its
replacement doesn't have too many holes in it.

I didn't pull this out of thin air, after all--I was replying to someone
who, with complete seriousness, said that we shouldn't delete a BLP because
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.

I think this is a specific case of the fact that we want the rules to be
strict and not subject to dispute when going after troublemakers or settling
arguments--but if you can tell a troublemaker "we don't want to hear your
excuses, a rule violation is a rule violation", someone else can tell us
the same thing.

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Re: "Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement"

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
> On Wed, 4 Apr 2012, George Herbert wrote:
>> BLP is a good idea and we got it for good reasons.  These recent
>> developments, however, forget that we are *an encyclopedia*. It's into
>> barking mad territory.
>>
>> No. We will not go to removing bios on demand on my watch.
>
> I would suggest as a modest proposal that we do away with "Wikipedia is
> an
> encyclopedia".  I've already suggested that we do away with the IAR
> clause "to improve the encyclopedia".
>
> "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" constantly gets misinterpreted to mean "we
> may never allow other concerns to take precedence over being
> encyclopediac".  This is wrong.

I would prefer we limit content to encyclopedic content. Obviously
aggregating news, especially about individuals, is incompatible with that
purpose.

Fred


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